Burning Sky, 1998

Burning Sky, 1998
Oil on canvas, 120 x 140 cm

Human and Landscape

The sky is burning in blazing red, immersing the landscape in an apocalyptical, shining shade of red. A volcanic eruption and people fleeing.

A man that is only wearing a loincloth, carries a heavy load on his shoulders. His gaze is turned inwards and seems stoic. Behind him, dark clouds of smoke of the volcanic eruption rise into the red of the sky. A second man, positioned at the right image border, is shown from rear. He is wearing a t-shirt and a pair of trousers and carries a bundle in his hand. He turns towards the volcano, glancing sidewards, yet moves away from the eruption.

Both men appear strong and powerful; they are, however, subjected to the effect of the natural phenomenon. They must submit to the force of nature, which is expressed by their postures as well as the demonic colourfulness of the landscape.

Many of her Africa travels take Ruth Baumgarte to the volcanic landscapes along the African rift valley. She visits the Province of Rift Valley in Kenya, that is characterised by volcanoes, many times. From her memory, she connects her observations of fascinating natural phenomena with human fate. An oppressive yet touching representation.